Man responsible for death of Mya Patel will spend the rest of his life behind bars

Joseph Lee Smith, 35, will spend the next 100 years in prison.
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 3:46 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2023 at 9:46 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — The man responsible for the shooting death of a 5-year-old girl who was playing in a motel room with her family will spend the rest of his life in jail.

On Thursday, March 30, the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office announced that Joseph Lee Smith, 35, will spend the next 100 years in prison. District Judge John D. Mosely Jr. sentenced Smith to 60 years for the March 2021 death of Mya Patel. Smith will also serve 20 years for obstruction of justice, and another 20 years for aggravated battery. His terms will be served without the benefit of probation, parole or reduction of sentence. And his sentences will be served consecutively, for a total of 100 years.

The DA’s office says Smith’s sentences were enhanced due to him being a repeat felony offender. Smith was found guilty in this case in January 2023.

Back on March 20, 2021, Smith got into some sort of argument with another man in the parking lot of the Super 8 Motel in the 4900 block of Monkhouse Drive. At the time, the motel was owned and operated by Vimal and Snehal Patel, who were living in one of the units on the ground floor. The Patels were in their room with their daughter, Mya, and a younger sibling when the shooting happened.

During the argument, Smith hit the other man with a 9 mm handgun, which went off. The bullet missed the other man, but went into the room where the Patels were living and hit Mya in the head; the bullet also grazed Snehal. Mya died from her injuries on March 23, 2021.